Archive | October, 2014

How To Write Badly : Part One (updated)

12 Oct

I’m just assuming that the title of “how to write badly” is something that I will be able to use more than once in my life, so I’m calling this “Part One” even though I don’t have a followup planned at this point.

In this installment, we will explore what I will refer to as the “slam flunk”. It’s that moment in a story, movie or TV series where the writer wants to make the main character look absolutely amazing. This is the moment where the audience is supposed to want to stand up and cheer, because of the brilliance of the main character, and therefore the brilliance of the writer. So why do I call it the “slam flunk“? Because in most cases, this act of brilliance is accomplished by dumbing down everyone around the main character. Not just the other characters on screen either. The writer is trying to dumb you down, so you won’t realize that what you’re seeing on screen doesn’t actually make sense.

A fine example of the slam flunk is a scene from the HBO series, The Newsroom. I am picking this scene simply because I have seen so many people crowding Facebook and Twitter with YouTube links, going on about how this is the best scene in the history of everything. Here is the scene in question. Watch it, and then we’ll go on:

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